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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'Peace be with you'

Islamic Society of North America leader shares deep appreciation for the ELCA

"In the words of Jesus Christ, as documented for us in the New Testament ... a salaam aleikum," said Sayyid M. Sayeed, offering the first-ever official greeting from an Islamic leader to an ELCA Churchwide Assembly. After a surprised pause, the assembly replied: "And also with you."

Sayeed, general secretary of the Islamic Society of North America, said jokingly, "a Lutheran loved his wife ... and he was about to tell her." When the assembly finished laughing over this example of Lutheran shyness, he added, "The ELCA broke that stereotype when they established a committee on Muslim-Lutheran relationships and that committee conveyed to Muslims that 'We love you.' "

Sayyid M. Sayeed
Sayyid M. Sayeed, general secretary of the Islamic Society of North America.

Sayeed praised ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson for "saying truth to the [powerful about] difficult issues," from peace in the Middle East to "anti-Muslim bigotry in America." Relationships between Lutherans and Muslims were born out of standing "against the veil of anti-Muslim sentiment that we have experienced together," he said.


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